Of black sheep and white crows: Extending the bilingual dual coding theory to memory for idioms Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license. Are idioms stored in memory in ways that preserve their surface form or language or are they represented amodally? We examined this question using an incidental cued recall paradigm in which two word idiomatic expressions were presented to adult bilinguals proficient in Russian and English. Stimuli included phrases with idiomatic equivalents in both languages (e.g. empty words/yce coa) or in one language only (Englishe.g. empty suit/yco oc or Russiane.g. empty sound/yco y), or in neither language (e.g. empty rain/yco o). If idioms are stored in a language-specific format, then phrases with idiomatic equivalents in both languages would have dual representation, and should therefore be more easily recalled than phrases with idiomatic meaning in only one language. This result was obtained. As such, the findings support the dual-coding theory of memory and are also compatible with models of the bilingual lexicon that include language tags or nodes.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Pritchett, L. K., Vaid, J., & Tosun, S.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Pritchett, Lena K||Vaid, Jyotsna||Tosun, Sumeyra

editor list (cited editors)

  • Walla, P.

publication date

  • December 2016